In case you missed it, the U.S. has been fighting an unconstitutional, undeclared war against Islamic terrorist enemies around the globe since 9/11.
Its cost has been bleeding the American treasury and has depreciated the influence of America as the believable leader of the free world.
When he takes office, Donald Trump’s first act as president should be to legitimize the prosecution of this war on Islamic terrorism by heading down Pennsylvania Avenue and asking Congress to legally declare war against ISIS.
Trump’s mandate from the American electorate was premised in part on using unrestrained American military power to defeat ISIS and making “American Great Again” by building back and expanding US military capabilities and reach around the world.
At the same time, Trump also has promised to bring a more restrained use of American interventionism.
“We wanna strengthen all friendships and seek out new friendships,” Trump said at a postelection rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. “Rather than a rigid dogma, we’re guided by the lessons of history, and a desire to promote stability all over and strength in our land. This destructive cycle of intervention and chaos must finally, folks, come to an end.”
By asking for a declaration of war against ISIS (and al-Qaida too), President Trump would deliver on his promise not only to allow the United States to use the power and military might necessary to defeat these Islamic terror groups, but to actually illustrate that he is willing to restrain his presidential power to act alone in prosecuting and defining this war.
Trump would also set a mission to actually end what has been an unwinnable war.
This “War on Terror” as it stands today is an endless, illegal war, one whose mission, goals and objectives have never been truly defined with a declaration of war mandated both by the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Act. It has been an undemonstrative series of military actions in a number of different nations of no true definition or ideology to measure victory or defeat.
Both our soldiers and their generals have been severely restrained by the Obama administration’s adoption of a military strategy based on weak internationalist doctrine and coalitions, political correctness defined by leftist elites and journalists, and an irrational obsession with restricting civilian casualties that rule out the extreme force necessary to carry out the destruction of enemy – and its supporters too.
It’s been a half-assed, stupid way of fighting a war.
At the same time, Americans have become too accustomed, even complacent, to this eternal state of war.
After 9/11, we were all riled up in a very patriotic way and told to be ready and observant.
But after years of fighting that has accomplished little in terms of beating the enemy that is not allowed to be defined in real terms, our government now discounts its true threat to the American people and to diminish the significance and true costs of this state of war.
Sadly, while we send drones and the USAF to bomb targets in the Middle East, we have deferred to the Russians, the Saudis, and the Iranians to directly deal with ISIS, to sort out the messes in Syria and Yemen.
Even worse, at home, terrorist attacks such as the shootings at Fort Hood in 2009, the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the San Bernardino attack in 2015 and the recent bombing in Manhattan in September are incorrectly termed as criminal matters. Couched cynically as acts by psychologically demented individuals acting alone, these acts of war by international terrorists quickly disappear from the news cycle and the consciousness of a nation.
By definitively defining the enemy, an unrestrained scope of waging war, and the cost in blood and coin Americans need to suffer to eliminate a true threat to world stability and American democracy, a declaration of war would be both a defining moment for a new Trump Administration and a needed re-calibration of how our nation is governed and addresses this threat.
It would be a truly significant first step in making “America Great Again.”
Steven Kurlander blogs at Kurly’s Kommentary and writes for FloridaPolitics.com. He is an attorney and communications specialist living in Monticello, New York.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.